Product Type: Yves Saint Laurent fragrances
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Opium for the masses
Yves Saint Laurent Belle d'Opium Eau de Parfum
Member Name: lillamarta
Yves Saint Laurent Belle d'Opium Eau de Parfum
Date: 03/11/10, updated on 17/06/11 (214 review reads)
Group: Oriental Floral
Belle d'Opium was another sample I picked up in a department store on my recent visit to London. Seeing Belle d'Opium together on display with the 2009 reformulated Opium version already set alarm bells ringing, but hey, I slap on anything I can get my hands on to train my nose.
Belle d'Opium is housed in a beautifully crafted opaque bottle with a beautiful domed golden cap. The red wick and the emblem in the middle of the flask are simply stunning. The only difference between the 2009 reformulated Opium and Belle bottles is their colour with the latter being a lovely dark shade of peacock blue, sophisticated and luxurious looking.
Top notes: white pepper
Belle d'Opium opens fresh, quite sweet and with a citrus-like tinge accompanied by a burst of savoury, spicy pepper note that immediately reminded me of the opening accord of Si Lolita. The enjoyment was short-lived though as literally 2 - 3 minutes later a lot more sugary aspect started to creep in. For a moment, this again felt like Si Lolita's heart and I wondered how come these two scents start off so similarly.
Middle notes: Casablanca lily, gardenia, jasmine
Quickly moving onto the heart of the fragrance and the peppery bubble deflated, I was getting a whiff of a bouquet of sweet, gentle nondescript white flowers unrecognisably jumbled together. This was the point Belle decided not to become Si Lolita's knockoff after all and in fact not to become anything in particular either and descended into the perfume equivalent of a vegetable purée. Imagine throwing all kinds of vegetables into a food processor and blending it until they turn into a mush. Well, this was Belle's heart. I guess there was jasmine in there, not the fleshy, real absolute but a flat, boring and clinically clean one cooked up in a lab.The heart lasted for about 4 - 5 hours and had a moderate projection.
Base notes: sandalwood, insense, narguilé
My biggest gripe with the drydown was that it wasn't at all creamy or smooth as you'd expect from an oriental fragrance, especially one that pretends to be on par with a great oriental classic, Opium. During the base notes Belle developed an off-putting, sugar-candy sweet, shrill and acetone-sharp, musky edge which mixed with the remainder of the synthetic white florals and annoyed the hell out of me! This note was probably meant to be the 'sandalwood', 'insense' and the pretentious smoky 'narguilé' elements except that Belle at this point smelled more synthetic than ever before with not a single real and natural woody, balsamic or smoky element in sight.
About 2 hours Belle eased up on the relentless, shrilly accord and gradually turned into a tamed, almost shy, sweet and powdery floral skinsent, again, slightly remininscent of Si Lolita's drydown and was detectable for another 2 - 3 hours. Taking away the floral elements, the base notes themselves were too subtle to be of any interest and the whole composition only lasted for 6 - 7 hours at most which is poor for an eau de parfum concentration. I wore the fragrance on three occasions in different temperatures but never really got any substancial base accord to talk about which is a shame.
Yuck! What a joke of comparing this bunch of synthetic white floral over synthetic powdery-musk fragrance to even the reformulated Opium. What a distasteful way of honouring the name of a timeless and beautiful classic by launching a badly-made, bland and synthetic, smelled-it-a-thousand-times before type scent.
For me YSL fragrance are a hit and miss and I only really liked two of their orientals: the original Opium, the now discontinued Nu as well as to some extent Yvresse and the bold, retro patchouli floral Elle from the floral chypre genre but I know when I smell quality, imagination and great blending and I expect no less from a world-famous brand.
Utterly undeserving, Belle is given two stars because of the bottle. To be honest, YSL could have sculpted a sultry, strong, beautifully evocative and quality fragrance into it to be rightfully remembered and not a celebrity scent that would hopefully soon sink to the low ranks where it belongs.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Being a new release, Belle d'Opium is sold at full price in perfume shops and department stores or online ranging from £39, £53 and £72 for a 30ml, 50ml or 90ml Eau de Parfum respectively.
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk
Summary: A wishy-washy mish-mash of white florals to avoid at all costs
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